Many of today’s smartphone users utilize their phone as their main camera. If you are to replace your traditional camera with a phone, adding some smartphone photography accessories to your bag is recommended. These mobile photography accessories can improve your experience, as well as image quality. While it helps, you may not even need one of the best smartphone cameras to shoot great images. Even a cheap device can produce amazing photos if given some help.
Without further ado, here are the best smartphone photography accessories we recommend investing in.
The best smartphone photography accessories:
Editor’s note: We will update this list of the best smartphone photography accessories regularly as new products launch.
1. Small tripod
A tripod is one of the first smartphone photography accessories you buy when getting into this art. It is a simple tool that doesn’t need to cost much but will offer plenty of benefits while shooting. The Manfrotto Pixi Mini (shown above) costs less than $30.
A tripod can be used for long exposure photography, which is when shutter speed is slowed down. This technique can be used to create light trails, smooth out fluids, and better expose images without increasing the ISO (which affects photo quality). Using a tripod can also reduce motion blur or shaky videos. Not to mention it really helps to have the camera static when learning composition, giving you more time and freedom to properly frame a scene.
I am a fan of large, sturdy tripods because I also use them for my heavy DSLR cameras. For smartphone purposes, it is best to go with a smaller tabletop or octopus tripod. Tabletop tripods are the smallest of the bunch, and as their name suggests, are best suited for use on a flat surface. Octopus tripods get their nickname from their flexible legs. They can be folded and adjusted in multiple ways and used to wrap around objects. The one shown above is called the JOBY Gorillapod and should work like a charm.
2. Microfiber cleaning cloth
These are cheap and useful smartphone photography accessories. Smartphones get dirty and oily, including the camera glass. This results in blurry or smudgy photos, so make sure to keep the lens glass clean with a microfiber cleaning cloth — using your shirt isn’t a good idea.
3. Remote shutter control
Save for a few exceptions, a smartphone’s rear camera is significantly better than the one in the front. Taking a selfie with the rear shooter is no easy feat, though. The timer forces you to rush. You can get yourself a remote shutter control to avoid the hassles and get the best selfie your phone can produce. These work via Bluetooth and allow the user to trigger the shutter from a distance.
Remote shutter controls also happen to be very cheap. A good one is the Camkix camera shutter control, which you can get via the button below.
4. Smartphone lenses
Clip-on lenses come in handy when your smartphone’s built-in glass is too limited. These smartphone photography accessories can offer higher focal lengths, zoom capabilities, macro focusing distance, fisheye effects, and wide-angle perspectives.
Smartphones are becoming more versatile thanks to the implementation of multiple cameras and lenses. While these help, they don’t come close to what you can do with these larger, external lenses. Not to mention, these lenses can usually be attached to a wide variety of devices, giving you more freedom of choice when it comes to smartphones.
There is a plethora of lenses for smartphones out there. We can’t name them all here, but we have a list with our favorite options.
5. Phone LED panel
Photography is all about light, and having some extra help in dark environments will allow you to get better results. LED panels have gotten smaller and more affordable. The one shown above is the Godox LEDM150 and features a rechargeable battery, a dimming mechanism, and a phone mount.
6. Portable battery pack
Your phone will quickly run out of battery if you are shooting photos and videos throughout the day. You don’t want a dead phone when a photo opportunity presents itself. For that reason, getting a portable power bank is a good idea. Here is a list of our favorites.
7. Smartphone microphone
Audio is one area where smartphones usually lack quality, and it is crucial for recording video. Improve your clips by using an external microphone. A good one is the Rode Smartlav Plus (pictured above). It can be attached to your phone’s 3.5mm headset jack… or dongle.
There are different types of microphones available, including small shotgun mics like the Rode Videomic Me and even wireless ones like the Comica CVM-WS60. You will have to do more research to figure out what you need.
8. You can upgrade the sensor and lens!
Smartphone hardware is limited by size, and size matters in photography. A larger sensor will perform better in low light and handle noise more efficiently. Similarly, optics need room to achieve certain things, including higher zoom capabilities. Devices like the Huawei P30 Pro and Oppo Reno 10x Zoom have only achieved proper optical zoom thanks to software and the periscope design, which uses reflections to lay glass elements inside the phone.
Smartphone hardware is limited by size, and size matters in photography.
If you want a true upgrade to your mobile photography, getting a bigger lens and more capable glass is possible through the use of external contraptions. These include devices like the DxO One, Sony DSC/QX10, or Hasselblad True Zoom Camera Motomod.
The DxO One attaches to your smartphone via USB-C or Apple’s Lightning connector. The device comes with a 20.2MP 1-inch sensor and a 32mm equivalent lens with an f/1.8 aperture. Shutter speeds range between 1/20,000 and up to 30 seconds for long exposure shots. It’s also possible to record video at 1080p/30fps or 720p@120fps.
The Sony DSC/QX10 is pricier, but the lens can achieve 10x optical zoom (25-250mm). Its design is great, but the 18MP sensor is smaller at 1/2.3 inches, and aperture ranges between f/3.3 and f/5.5. Sony glass and Exmor R technology help, but this is also a 2013 device, and technology advances rapidly.
Motorola Hasselblad True Zoom Camera Motomod
The Hasselblad smartphone attachment is an amazing concept, but there aren’t many benefits aside from the 10x optical zoom. The 1/2.3-inch sensor is not as good as ones in modern smartphones. Aperture ranges between f/3.5 and f/6.5. It looks gorgeous, though. Some of you may also appreciate the dedicated shutter and zoom controls, as well as the xenon flash.
Overall, we were disappointed by it, as you can read in our full Motorola Hasselblad True Zoom Camera review. It can also only be used with the Moto Z line-up, so most of you can’t take advantage of it.
9. Smartphone camera rig
Smartphone camera rigs are for serious content creators. These contraptions make it possible to mount your smartphone, lights, microphones, battery packs, and whatever smartphone photography accessories you can think of.
A popular one is the Ulanzi U Rig Pro, which comes equipped with two tripod threads and three cold shoe mounts for other accessories. It can be attached to a tripod in both landscape and portrait orientation.
10. Smartphone gimbal
Image stabilization has come a long way, but using an advanced gimbal can further improve your videos. These smartphone photography accessories use motors to keep a smartphone stable over three axes. It will reduce shake and create smooth movements.
Again, there are plenty of options available, but we really like the DJI Osmo Mobile 3. It comes from a renowned brand and fixes plenty of issues previous smartphone gimbals had. It folds up, making it more portable. This version now comes with a USB-C connection, which means charging is easier. You now have the ability to automatically turn your phone from portrait to landscape mode. Additionally, the rear trigger button is back (the Osmo Mobile 2 abandoned this feature for some reason) and supported devices will now have Active Track and Story Mode, both of which we first saw on the DJI Osmo Pocket.
Buying a camera is only the first step in this money pit that photography is.
These smartphone photography accessories are sure to take your images to another level. Remember, buying a camera is only the first step in this money pit that photography is. Lucky for you, you probably already have a smartphone, and most of these accessories are affordable.